Swoon | Chicago Reader

Swoon

82 minutes 1992

Part docudrama, part criminology, this fascinating 1992 drama looks at the intimate lives of Leopold and Loeb, gay lovers in Chicago who were sentenced to life imprisonment for their 1924 kidnapping and murder of a teenage boy. Director Tom Kalin highlights the protagonists' intimacy and violent nature, noting the orgasmic rush they experience when disposing of a body or committing acts of vandalism. Shot in black-and-white 16-millimeter, with archival footage interspersed throughout, the movie makes for a visually evocative history lesson. Kalin's vision of lovers outside the law recalls early Godard, while his surrealistic jump-cuts and his treatment of homosexuality as taboo suggest Kenneth Anger's Scorpio Rising.

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